You cannot create team commitment with a wrong vision. Days of defining visions as “where we want to go” in a way that “you cannot reach there” but you continue working and working trying to get there, are long gone. Most of these management terms and practices were coined during the first to second industrial revolutions which were characterized by poor technology and slow pace of change, as human Labour was at the center stage of production.
Today, technology and innovation is the winner.
The phases of industrial revolutions have been driven by technological advancements to match the ever-increasing pace of change. In these times which management gurus have called VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, and TUNA – turbulent, uncertain, novel, and ambiguous, traditional management models are slowly becoming absolute. One such term being replaced is “vision.”
New terms like ambition or aspiration are replacing “vision” or they are being used interchangeably. In the next 10 years, leaders will be talking about ambition and aspiration but not vision.
Most important, today’s leaders are focusing on defining the purpose of the organization, because that is critical. Why does the business exist? Purpose helps bring people who share a passion for the same cause to come together. Vision may not and as such, it is being replaced because a vision that is not with an end in sight is not worth pursuing. Many companies have also reduced their planning time horizon. In the past, it was a 10-year strategy. today, leaders are planning for the next 3-5 years due to the fast pace of change. And each planning cycle aims to address a specific challenge or tap into specific opportunities. Once such is accomplished, the vision changes. It is like a small team with a vision to play in the English Premiership, but after conquering the league, changes the vision to now competing in the UEFA! Such a football club cannot be constrained to continue pursuing a small vision. However, the purpose of “identifying the best football talent globally and bringing them to the club to share their talent with the world” may never change since it is ever relevant.
“Vision” must change with new developments, challenges, or opportunities. However, the traditional vision remains the same. As a strategy expert, it is common to find an organization in 2020 still pursuing a vision which the founders defined way back in the 1980s! Such a company risks collapsing in these modern times of the fourth industrial revolution where change is happening at the speed of light. The Coronavirus pandemic has awoken the world to new realities of agility.
Take a hospital with a vision “Our vision is health care!” Such a vision may not create team cohesion and focus to drive growth because the primary objective of hospitals is not health care. It is curing people. Treating illnesses. The people take care of their health by practicing good practices like avoiding drugs or smoking, eating a balanced diet, exercising, and being happy, among others. You go to the hospital only after you have failed to take care of your health. You go for treatment.
A hospital vision like “a preferred center of excellence in medical education and research to create hope for humanity to overcome any illness and restore good healthfully.”
A vision or an aspiration like that not only helps attract the right people, but it is also the best marketing. Anyone would want to go to such a hospital for medical education, research and if they are sick, would want to call there. When you are sick you need a hospital that will give you solutions.
To be continued
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.